Rate for additional translation-related tasks?
Thread poster: Nils Vanbellingen

Nils Vanbellingen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
German to Dutch
+ ...
Jun 30, 2012

Hi all,

I will start freelancing for a translation agency... I have already stated my rates for translations, but I would like to know what is a reasonable amount to charge for additional translation-related tasks, such as waching videos or reading books related to the translation project, for preparing a glossary, etc.?

Many thanks in advance!


 

Mariana Rohlig Sa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:50
English to German
+ ...
Should be included in your rate Jun 30, 2012

Hi Nils,

Usually the effort involved in the whole translation project should be included in the per word translation rate, unless the client asks you specifically to prepare a glossary or perform a different job from that of translation. In those cases you would apply a per hour rate.

Hope this helps and good luck!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The oldest profession in the world Jun 30, 2012

Have you ever heard of the oldest profession in the world? Yes, I mean prostitutes.

Have you ever wondered why it is still the oldest profession around?

Well, compare to the other extreme, travelling salespeople. You probably know some of them who completely lost their jobs to e-business.

The key is in these selling people getting paid by results, while hookers get paid by their time, in which they'll be doing whatever they are able/willing to do.

So a sustainable option for a services provider is to set your prices by the time it will take you to perform them, and not by the results your clients will have from them.

Whatever be the services that you intend to offer, you should have a somewhat clear idea of how long it takes you to do each of them, do the math, and convert your intended income per time unit into prices per work unit. You already do it for translation, right? I mean, you charge X to translate each word because you know how many words you can translate per time unit, how many time units you can work per month, and how much you intend to earn per month.

However it's not that simple. After you have reached what you think should be your rate per word, compare it with what the market offers. Proz has a reference at Tools | Community Rates. If your intended rates are too high, you should find a way to become more efficient, and make them competitive. If you can't, maybe you have chosen the wrong line of busines, please reconsider!

You should apply this calculation to every kind of service you offer.

Quite frankly, and this is my personal stance, I avoid charging directly by the time unit as much as I can. Of course, for some jobs that require you to be 'available', either working or not, like interpreting, charging by the hour is unavoidable.

However when anyone wants to pay me by the hour for otherwise measurable work, I illustrate with an example, in attempt to steer them out of this idea. I say, "Imagine a DTP job. If you request me to do it using PageMaker, as I have 20+ years' experience with it, I'll do it all in a heartbeat, and get grossly underpaid for all those years I invested in mastering it. Conversely, if you order the same job using QuarkXpress, you'll be grossly overcharged for all the hours I'll spend reading manuals and help screens. So either way it's unfair."

Therefore check your times, and compute your rates. Then do a reality check on them. Your clients will be buying specific services, however in fact you'll be selling your skills to perform them, and most of all the time it takes you to do it.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:50
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Part of the job specification or not? Jun 30, 2012

Nils Vanbellingen wrote:
I will start freelancing for a translation agency... I have already stated my rates for translations, but I would like to know what is a reasonable amount to charge for additional translation-related tasks, such as waching videos or reading books related to the translation project, for preparing a glossary, etc.?


In my opinion, Nils, it depends on why you are doing these "additional translation-related tasks". If they are an absolutely necessary part of the job, something that the client has asked you to do, then you charge your hourly rate. On the other hand, if you need to do research to find the correct translation for a certain word or phrase, well, that's part of your learning curve and should not be charged. Next time you do a similar translation, you will be able to translate faster.

For example, if the client asks you to produce a glossary in advance of doing the translation, then you charge your time for doing this, and either deliver it to them or at least make sure you use it in their future jobs. But if you are spending time building a glossary because this will be useful to you in future, that should be transparent to the client. Of course, in the long run everything you spend your time on must be reflected in your rate per word. This rate should be connected to the number of words you can translate in an hour, but ultimately it must be derived from the amount of money you need to earn to maintain the standard of living you want/expect. A translator does not spend every working minute translating words, so the rate per word must cover all those non-productive minutes (research, admin, training, sickness, holidays, marketing...).

This is one reason why an experienced translator may not charge much more per word, but has a much better standard of living than a newbie: they translate faster with less time spent on research, and they need to do less marketing. It is also one reason why a new translator should not charge absurdly low rates. (S)he should take longer to produce a competent translation. (If you can't produce a competent translation, then you shouldn't be translating!).

In your case, if the client has expressly said you need to watch videos, read certain books and produce a glossary, then you should include these tasks in your quote. But not otherwise, in my opinion.

HTH.

Sheila


 

Nils Vanbellingen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
German to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Asked by the client Jul 1, 2012

Well it's something that the client has asked me to do, and they want to know my hourly rate for these additional translation-related tasks... so I was wondering what a representative hourly rate might be... e.g. if you would charge EUR 25/hour for translating, what would a representative rate for these additional tasks be?

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:50
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
An hour is an hour Jul 1, 2012

If they've asked you to work for an hour, then you charge your normal hourly rate. I don't really see many exceptions to that. I would probably charge higher if I really didn't want to do it and didn't really see it as my job t do it (because I wouldn't get the job satisfaction that I get from translating); I might charge lower if I was charging for travel time by train or plane (or a chauffeur-driven limo) where I could work for some of the time on another project.

Sheila


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:50
English to German
+ ...
Your regular hourly rate as a minimum Jul 1, 2012

Because you could as well be busy with other lucrative projects during this time. Even while your PC is blocked by a massive download and you are technically "not working" during this time.
An example regarding watching / checking videos: A US-based agency offered US $ 250.00 for checking a one hour video (I translated the voice-over). This flat-fee included the download (took a few minutes), viewing the video, taking notes and reporting back to the customer.

I have no idea why you would even consider 25 Euro before taxes per hour for any of your work.

Best,
Nicoleicon_smile.gif


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maybe useful or not... Jul 1, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:
An example regarding watching / checking videos: A US-based agency offered US $ 250.00 for checking a one hour video (I translated the voice-over). This flat-fee included the download (took a few minutes), viewing the video, taking notes and reporting back to the customer.


For audio/video work, which I charge on a per-minute-of-total-playing-time basis, I keep a strict 15 minutes minimum playing time fee. Otherwise I'd be flooded with requests for translating & subtiltling short videos, some of them lasting only 30 seconds.

To make it clear, if the total audio or video playing time is less than 15 minutes, I apply 15 minutes to my rates for whatever was requested (translation, spotting, subbing, burning on DVD, etc.).

Actually it used to be 10 minutes, however I adopted the recommendation from the Brazilian Translators Syndicate, of which I am not a member, and changed it to 15 minutes.

This minimum covers finding out what software - if required - will download it, and often convert it into the file format I need, with the codec I want, in the size I need, etc. The time it takes to actually do the download is not so relevant. If it's quick, I can wait or have a coffee. If it's a behemoth of a feature film in HD, I can have the computer download it overnight while I'm sound asleep.

One final note is that I apply this minimum on a per-request basis, not per video/file, as I can schedule multiple downloads to be performed simultaneously or sequentially.


 


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